Losing weight is a funny thing.
I mean in theory?
It’s a simple process.
Eat fewer calories than you’re taking in, with sufficient protein, and plenty of nutrient rich food.
But, as you and I well know, just having that information? Often isn’t enough to trigger long term fat-loss.
Because there’s a very human component to losing weight. We aren’t machines you can just programme to consume fewer calories, or move more.
We’re humans with cravings, a social life, and the need to actually enjoy the meals we’re consuming- eating good food is, after all, one of the most pleasant experiences we can experience.
So, as a simple “eat less move more” structure is doomed for failure from the start, how do we better prep ourselves for life long, sustainable health?
Habits are your learned reaction to a certain stimulus.
For example as the clock strikes 3pm, and Bill walks past your desk to the break room, you automatically follow him and have a slice of cake.
It might be dipping a chocolate digestive in your tea, without even realizing you’d prepared it as soon as the cup started brewing.
Or your automatic inclination to drive straight home from work, hang up your coat, and make a beeline to the sofa, where you’ll lounge around until the start of a particular TV programme triggers your ‘dinner time’ habit response.
None of these habits are exactly helpful in getting you the fat-loss you’re after.
But developing habits that do?
That’s the hidden key to sustainable results that most fancy Instagram coaches won’t sell you on.
Because the slow accumulation of good habits isn’t sexy. Not like 10 minute Abs, or a juice detox (click here to see why that’s actually a pretty terrible choice)
But, habits have this handy trait of lasting.
Of not being a flash-in-the-pan behavioural change.
If you begin implementing a habit correctly, it can last a lifetime.
And if that lifelong habit is in line with your health, fitness and weight loss goals?
Well that right there, is the key to sustainable results, and a step away from yo-yo dieting.
Habit #1- Start To Schedule
It’s highly unlikely you’ll accidentally make time for something you don’t initially enjoy.
And it’s also highly likely that if you aren’t currently training, you won’t be overly enthused by the idea of going to the gym (don’t worry, you’ll learn to love it- after all, the most successful people in the world do).
So, start with a small commitment (whether you’re starting from the ground floor, or you’re already going to the gym and making changes to your diet).
For example you might:
- Begin taking short walks on your lunch break
- Begin taking healthy lunches to work
- Start going to the gym twice a week
Now, once you’ve identified your habit(s), look at your week, and figure out how you’re going to achieve them.
For example setting an alarm on your phone every day at 12.30pm reminding you to take your lunchtime walk.
Setting aside a couple of hours of Sunday to cook up some chicken and make healthy meals for the week at work.
Set your alarm an hour earlier a couple of days a week to get to the gym for a 30 minute training session.
Identifying what you can do is a big step.
But if you do that without allowing for the practicalities of actually doing it?
It’s wishful thinking.
Identify the actions you can take, and then set aside the time to do them. Remember, it shouldn’t be overwhelming- it should be sustainable.
Habit #2- Measure Your Progress
“I feel like I haven’t made any progress!”
“I wish it was happening faster”
“God, maybe I should just give up”
These are the calling cries of the clients or friends whom neglect to record their results.
The complaints and lack of enthusiasm that tends to be accompanied by a complete lack of acknowledgment for the incredible work they’ve done already.
All three of these instances were soon thereafter followed with measurements being taken, and progress photos being compared.
Quickly, their sentiments turned to:
“Oh wow look how far I’ve come!”
“I can’t believe it, I couldn’t tell”
“Ah, yes that makes sense… my clothes are looser”
Seeing progression in your own body on a day to day basis is close to impossible.
It’s similar to when a young relative does the rounds at a family gathering, and is met with a chorus of “My, haven’t you grown?!”.
The boy wouldn’t have noted such growth on a day to day, or even month to month basis. To him it was happening slowly, and as such, he wouldn’t acknowledge it.
But to the overly enthusiastic relatives he only sees twice a year? He shot up half a foot from one meeting the last.
That’s why it’s imperative to staying motivated, that you keep track of your progress.
Clothes fitting is a great one, but even that can be shrugged off my a pessimistic “Oh, I guess this one stretched out somehow”.
But progress photos and measurements? Those are the money tickets to seeing your body transform.
Taking both every 2-4 weeks is a tried and tested way to ensure you don’t lose sight of how far you’ve come, and as such, don’t stop doing all the great things you’re doing due to lack of motivation.
Habit #3- Stock Up Healthy
This habit, in theory, needs only be completed once a week.
But, if done correctly, it sets you up for a healthy 7 days of food.
The choices you make at the supermarket are directly tied to the progress you make with your weight loss.
Spend the majority of your time in the fresh produce and vegetables isle? Probably going to be a good week.
However find yourself trawling the cereal and snack isle for the majority of your shop? Might not be the greatest week of nutrition…
Go to the grocery store with a plan. With ingredients and recipes you know will contribute to your weight loss success.
Identify your common craving foods, and think about what choices you can make to avoid over consuming them (Here, this blog will help: Discover How To Beat Common Cravings To Stay On Track With Your Fitness Goals)
I’m not, of course, saying cut out all the foods you enjoy.
After all, life is about balance.
And if currently your ‘balance’ is a little off, and you’re consuming a family pack of crisps in front of the TV a few nights a week? Just swapping that out for a small bag is a step in the right direction.
If you’ve been eating ice cream every night- put greek yoghurt on the shopping list and see if you can replace it a least half the time.
The choices you make in the grocery store set you up for an epic week of healthy eating, or a week of snacking on junk food.
It doesn’t have to be all broccoli and chicken breast, BUT if you already know you have an achilles heel when it comes to snacking? Avoiding having that food in the house can make a big difference in changing your ‘I’m-bored-so-I-eat’ habits.
There isn’t a magic formula to weight loss.
The studies have been done, the evidence is there- unless there’s a new crazy discovery coming, we get it.
But, there might be a magic formula to adhering to the behaviours you need to adopt for weight loss.
And that formula for most people? Isn’t a quick fix diet.
It’s long term habit adaptation.
It’s creating a healthy lifestyle, not following a rigid plan short term.
And if you approach is sensibly, without an ‘All-or-nothing’ approach?
There’s no reason the habits you build, can’t last a lifetime.
Finding the time to adopt new habits and fit exercise and healthy eating into a busy lifestyle can be very challenging. Here at Luke Bremner Fitness we specialise in working with busy professionals and business owners, so we understand the importance of time efficient health and fitness solutions.
We designed our core programmes – the 12 Week Transformation and the 4 Week Jumpstart with that in mind. To help you, the busy professional look, feel and perform better without sacrificing the previous little time you have available.
To find our more about our nutrition coaching, programmes and how we can help you achieve your goals, you can book in for your complimentary consultation.